The Interview is a 2014 comedy film starring and directed by Seth Rogen, and also starring James Franco. The plot angered North Koreans, as it involved Rogen and Franco playing two guys attempting to interview and assassinate Kim Jong-un. So much, in fact, that in late 2014, they started hacking Sony Pictures, leaking e-mails, and even threatening to bomb any theater showing The Interview, thus warranting Sony to pull the film only to put it back as a limited-release film days later. Some of these e-mails indicate that the ending sequence of the film underwent many changes and variations. The original version apparently was much more graphic, as revealed in the following e-mail:
In anticipation of our phone call, here are three different versions of the scene:
- The version you saw in New York which was unacceptable (shot #268)
- The version we hoped the filmmakers would approve but they rejected (shot #316A)
- The final version from them after many iterations (shot #337)
In shot #337 there is no face melting, less fire in the hair, fewer embers on the face, and the head explosion has been considerably obscured by the fire, as well as darkened to look less like flesh.
We arrived at this shot (#337) after much cajoling and resistance from the filmmakers.
I think this is a substantial improvement from where we were, and if we can agree on this direction conceptually I believe we can push them a bit further.
If we force them to go with the version where there is no head explosion it will be difficult but survivable. They really believe this is what’s necessary to make it play like a joke.
As you know, they have agreed to completely cut the head popping and reduce the violence generally in any international version of the movie.
I’m sorry this hasn’t already been resolved, but you know we will do what you need us to do.
Look forward to talking Monday your time.
Sony staff who spoke with The Sunday Times called the version released in theaters a 'redacted version' and expressed hopes that the full unedited movie would be released on DVD in a 'director's cut version'.